The National Taxi Alliance (NTA) and the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) have begun talks with financial lenders over the extension of payment holidays after the expiry of the current one that began when the county went into lockdown on March 26.
Many institutions were expecting taxi operators – many of whom have pleaded poverty because of the impact the Covid-19 had on their businesses – to start making payments on their monthly installments at the end of June.
Although Bafana Magagula, Santaco strategic officer did not commit to admitting that the organization had also begun talks with, among others, SA Taxi, he confirmed a visit to the company’s office by a Santaco delegation led by its president Philip Taaibosch on Wednesday, 24 June but declined to confirm of such a visit was connected with the issue of the extension of the payment period.
“The President was there today with our team but I don’t know what they were talking about,” said Magagula who also dismissed the claims by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula that he had convinced financial institutions to extend the payment period by at least two to three months. “You must know that whether under bad or normal circumstances it is the leadership that has to go there and speak to these financial sectors,” said Magagula.
Theo Malele, spokesman for the NTA said they began engaging different institutions on Saturday, 21 June on behalf of taxi operators across affiliation lines to convince lenders to extend tge repayment holiday period by another three months.”If people have been working at a loss how then do you expect them to pay end of June? We have to do this for all taxi operators across even of they belong to other structures,” said Malele, who also confirmed that the organization’s leadership was also at SA Taxi the same day that the Santaco team was also there.
In a statement prepared for the media NTA said that it believed the latest suggested payment arrangement could be good for both the taxi industry and the financial institutions. The NTA has suggested payment under the new arrangement should follow sequence that would allow payment to start at 65% from end of July, followed by 75% for August and 100% for September.
“We believe that this arrangement will provide a feasible recovery plan for both the industry and the financial institutions,” read the statement.